Key House Committee Upvotes Bill with CRT Provisions

House Energy & Commerce Committee approves H.R. 2328, which protects manual complex rehab chairs and accessories.

The Health Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee has approved H.R. 2328, the Reauthorizing and Extending America’s Community Health (REACH) Act, which contains various provisions that would protect manual complex rehab technology (CRT) wheelchairs.

Specifically, the bill would permanently exclude CRT manual wheelchairs from the competitive bidding program and exempt CRT manual wheelchair accessories from bidding-derived pricing from Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020.

With the subcommittee’s approval, H.R. 2328 now goes before the entire House Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration.

The news comes a month after the House Ways and Means Committee began reviewing similar CRT protections (which it ultimately approved) that was included H.R. 3429, the Health Equity and Access for Returning Troops and Servicemembers (HEARTS) Act.

The HEARTS protections originated from H.R. 2293, the Protecting Access to Complex Rehab Manual Wheelchairs Act. That bill, along with its Senate companion S. 1223, would permanently exclude manual complex rehab technology (CRT) wheelchairs from the competitive bidding program and would delay Medicare from applying competitive bidding-derived reimbursement rates to accessories for manual CRT wheelchair for 18 months.

“This is great news and shows strong and growing support in the House to take action on this issue,” said Don Clayback, executive director, of the National Coalition of Assistive and Rehab Technology (NCART). “We are getting closer to the finish line in protecting access to CRT for individuals with disabilities.”

“We’re pleased to see that the effort to protect access to the full range of CRT equipment and accessories is moving forward on Capitol Hill,” noted Tom Ryan, president and CEO of the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare). “… We’re one step closer to keeping these specialized products out of the bidding program.”

Both Clayback and Ryan credited CRT stakeholders for their advocacy, and thanked legislative champions Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), as well as Energy & Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D- N.J.) and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-Or.) for their leadership and support.

CRT providers and advocates can use the resources at www.protectmymobility.org to contact lawmakers to ask them to co-sponsor legislation and help get the CRT legislation passed.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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